Thursday, June 02, 2005

Underfunded Corporate Pensions


The issues with the LANL pension may be only a small part of much larger national story. See this latest GAO report.


Article Title and Link (click on the link below to access the article):

GAO: Underfunded Corporate Pensions 'Severe and Widespread'

Thanks for posting this. This is a really scary problem for Americans who are counting on corporations for their retirement.
I hope Americans will wake up and demand legislation to protect their defined benefit retirement.
And now with Social Security under attack, Americans are in double trouble.
Americans should demand that corporate retirement programs be moved to some independent administrator who has fiduciary responsiblity. Having retirement funds as corporate assets clearly doesn't work. It is time to get the corporate hand out of the employees' cookie jar.
I am a little confused by events that are occurring.

As I understand it "we" have now recognized that several large pension plans are "under funded," including the pension plans of Lockheed Martin. The GAO says that the debts of these entities with "under funded" plans will likely be assumed by the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. which is facing a $23.3 billion (that is BILLION with a "B") deficit of its own.

I further understand that the pension plan of the University of California is "over funded" and the United States government, as represented by DOE and Congress, is demanding that the pension system provided by UC for LANL be replaced with a plan that is not "over funded." In particular, one of the contenders to provide the future retirement plan for LANL is Lockheed-Martin.

What am I missing?
Looks like you've got it to me.
Speaking of underfunded pensions, let us not forget the Federal Government. In its 2003 Annual Report to Congress, the Board of Social Security Trustees announced that the Trust would require another $3.5 trillion in 2003 money, earning interest at current Treasury rates, to pay all scheduled benefits over the next 75 years. By 2005, this obligation had increased by at least another $600B. Since its creation, the Trust fund "lock box" has been raided annually by the same Congress that insists on sabotaging our UC retirement proving again Mark Twain's axiom, to wit "The Republic is never in as much jeopardy as it is when Congress is in session."
To 6/2/2005 01:24:36 PM:
Good theory but.....The retirement trust of the Limited Liability Coorporation (LLC) to be created here would not be blended with the general Lockheed corporation pension trust if Lockheed gets the contract. Similarly, I'm almost certain that the extant Sandia National Laboratories trust is not comingled either. The same would apply to the UCRP if the UC gets the contract. The Los Alamos LLC pension fund would be in its own trust account.
6:51 - What prevents that (these) separate LLC DB pension(s) from being underfunded? A guarantee/monies from DOE and/or a guarantee/monies from Lockheed or UC?
To 6:51PM: Question: "What prevents that (these) separate LLC DB pension(s) from being underfunded?" Answer: Bigger deductions from employees paychecks.
That would have been my guess too, except Sandia employees do not contribute to their DB Plan.
The LLC Def-Ben fund would not be underfunded if $2billion (the rightful amount including LANL share of UCRS surplus) were transferred from UCRS instead of the $700million based on UC's actuarial tables.
Well now, that seems to suggest Plan I in the RFP might have a potential problem right off the bat.
The question for LANL employees is: Does the LANL LLC, along with its stand alone pension, have a significant chance of going bankrupt?

For example, suppose there was a huge liability judgement against the LANL LLC due to a major safety or environmental incident. I think we need to know how other national labs with stand alone pensions expect to handle this. LANL employees may need legal advice and standing to address such questions, ASAP.
Because of the pension funding problems mentioned above, I am going to keep a close eye on this contract process. There will be a meeting sponsored by CLE with the DOE representative on June 12 at the high school. You should come and ask these very questions. We definately need some 'lock box' protection clauses added to the final contract.
Most Americans work and have no defined benefit retirement they can look forward to.
We do not. We work and I cannot even buy health insurance because we worked outside of the country and I am pregnant.
Your defined benefit pension was just a promise that your company could never deliver. If the gov't prints more money so that you get a defined benefit pension, then I want one, too.

But first, I want them to print money so that I can purchase affordable health insurance. I know, you think I should just go bankrupt whilst you have a cushy retirement.

You "defined benefit" minority have never spoken up for things like health care for all Americans. But you sure want to reach into the cookie jar fast for yourselves.

Cool blog, you have a good one going. I'm surfing blogs today and came across yours, keep up the good work :)

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